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  • Use Your OneDrive!!
    17 December 2014
    8:09 AM

    Category:Business Intelligence; Cloud Services; Infrastructure and Messaging
    Post By:Chelsea Stephens

    If you’re an Office 365 customer, you’re already paying for it.  So why do so many businesses and even individuals not take advantage of OneDrive for Business?  I usually find that it’s because they don’t understand the service and what it offers them.  But it begs the question: where are you keeping your work documents and files?  Are they on a network drive?  Do you save everything to your “My Documents” library?  Or are you a fan of storing everything in your Dropbox?  OneDrive for Business offers benefits over all of these options, and it’s just as easy to use as all of them.
    There are a lot of problems with using network drives for file storage.  They’re normally difficult to reach on a cell phone or tablet.  They usually require a VPN connection to reach from outside of the business.  It costs money to back them up, both in terms of personnel and in equipment and media.  And when you make changes to a document, they’re permanent.  There’s no “undo,” once you close it.
    If you save everything to your “My Documents,” they may not be backed up at all!  If your computer dies or is stolen, you would lose everything that you hadn’t manually backed up to another location, something most of us rarely do.  If you’re lucky, your IT department has gone to the trouble of automatically backing up your “My Documents” for you, but all of the problems associated with saving your valuable files to a network drive also apply to using your “My Documents” library. Unfortunately, many companies do not allow the use of Dropbox on their networks.  They have valid security concerns, in particular when it comes to personal Dropbox accounts.  

    However, if you’re an Office 365 customer, you can get the benefits of a cloud-based solution, like Dropbox, for free and without many of the limitations.  So what is it, and how do you get it?  If you’re lucky enough to have an IT help desk to handle things like this, put in a ticket to have OneDrive for Business installed for you.  If you normally handle installs yourself, or you want to also synchronize with your home computer, it’s an easy install.
    When you log into Office 365, click “OneDrive” on the top menu.  If you don’t see it, click the ellipsis (“…”), and then click “OneDrive” on its menu.  Your document library’s web page will be displayed, and you could use the library through your web browser without installing anything, but the real power of OneDrive for Business is the automatic synchronization of all of your computers with the OneDrive library.  And that requires a quick installation.
    Click “Sync” on the document library’s ribbon, and on the dialog box that appears, click “Sync Now.”  If the OneDrive for Business software isn’t already installed on your computer it will provide a page for downloading and installing the software.  After the installation, when you open Windows Explorer and when you save a file from Microsoft Office, you will have OneDrive favorite with its blue, two-cloud logo.  Its name will have your company name or the name of your Office 365 site, so that if you have more than one OneDrive, you can tell them apart.
    You can move all of your important documents to this new location, and they will synchronize to your OneDrive and eventually to all other computers that you configure.  When you save from any Office application, the favorite will be available in the “Save As” screen.  If you ever need to save from a non-Office application, the folder is actually available on your c-drive in the “Users” folder, under your username, and is named the same as the favorite.  In my case, it’s found here: “C:\Users\dfrankland\OneDrive – B2B Technologies LLC”.
    Microsoft has announced that it is doing away with storage limits on the OneDrive document libraries for Office 365 subscribers in 2015.  Some lucky users who signed up early for the increase are already enjoying storage without limits!  Soon, you will be too.  When my personal Office 365 account gets the upgrade, I plan to move every document, photo, MP3, etc. on my home PC into my OneDrive. 

    It might take a little while to synchronize, but when it’s done, I’ll get the following benefits:

    •         Access to my files from just about any smart phone or tablet with an Internet connection
    •         My files will be backed up in the cloud in case of a disaster

    So, if you’ve ever been concerned with losing all of your important folders, documents and pictures but don’t want to go through the hassle of finding enough external storage or time to back everything up manually, OneDrive for Business is the way to go! It saves so much time and has more offers more space than you can ever imagine using.

  • The Features of OneDrive for Business
    10 December 2014
    2:41 PM

    Category:Cloud Services; Business Intelligence; Infrastructure and Messaging
    Post By:Chelsea Stephens

    OneDrive for Business is a feature set that is part of Office 365. The features included in the set are as follows:


    •    This tool is used for syncing files from a user PC to their OneDrive for Business

    •    This tool can be installed via the Office 2013 install or a standalone installer. It is built into Windows 8.1, but also available on Windows 7 and 8.

    •    When you install and setup the OneDrive desktop app on a Windows PC, a copy of your OneDrive is downloaded to your PC and put in the “OneDrive” folder. This folder is kept in sync with your online OneDrive. Note: this refers to OneDrive not OneDrive for Business. OneDrive for Business is a bit different - once installed, the app just sort of sits until you sync a library. At that point, it will add a Favorite in Windows Explorer to that library which now behaves much like any other folder in Explorer.

    •    This features provides a means by which to sync a user’s OneDrive for Business as well as other SharePoint site libraries to the user’s computer up to a 20,000 item limit. It is important to note that both folders and files count toward this limit.  It is also EXTREMELY important to note that you can ONLY sync at the library level, so you’ll want to be creating libraries in your OneDrive for Business versus just adding to the already existing documents.

    •    Since you are syncing to SharePoint libraries, you will be protected from overwriting documents and potentially losing data - provided that versioning is turned on in the SharePoint library. By default, the Documents library in OneDrive for Business has versioning turned on.

    •    It should be noted that this Sync tool IS NOT a backup tool, it does not work much like a backup tool and it can only replace backup tools in very specific cases.


    •    This is often used to replace a user’s personal network share

    •    This data is available on a per OneDrive basis, it is not possible to repurpose the data to another OneDrive or to the Office 365 tenant

    •    OneDrive data is separate from Office 365 tenant data and is not transferrable


    •    This personal site has the same feature set as a typical SharePoint site and can be used much like any other SharePoint site. The user can create list, libraries and additional sites within their own OneDrive for Business.

    •    After a user account is deleted or the license is removed, that OneDrive, along with all documentation and content within it, will be deleted after 14 days. The user’s manager will receive an email alerting them to the impending deletion so that they can copy any business related information that they might need. It is important to note that the deletion is permanent and the items will not be moved to a recycle bin.


    •    From this screen users can keep track of documents they are following


    •    An easy way to access libraries on sites that a user is following


    •    Search allows a user to quickly search for documents within their OneDrive


    •    Content can be shared with people inside or outside your organization. Outside sharing depends upon tenant settings. See below for options.

    The sharing features are the same as any other SharePoint site except that the only permissions you can grant a user are view or edit.

    Office 365 Sharing Settings.jpg

    OneDrive Sharing Example.png

  • B2B Tech's Top 5 Highlights from SharePoint Conference 2014
    28 March 2014
    3:48 PM

    Category:Cloud Services; Portals and Collaboration; Infrastructure and Messaging; Business Intelligence
    Post By:Chelsea Stephens

    ​1.     SharePoint Online and Office 365 get the love

    It used to be that SPO (SharePoint Online in Office 365) was always lagging behind the big brother SharePoint on premises.  Well the shoe is on the other foot with Microsoft developing a "cloud first" strategy.

    Products will be developed for the cloud and then made available to on premises versions -- if at all.

    In fact, Microsoft has only committed to one more release of SharePoint for on premises (available in 2015).

    Cloud-only features:

    • Power BI​
    • Extended (or Unified) Groups
    • Social through Yammer
    • Office 365 Video Portal
    • OSLO

    Microsoft has not abandoned the on-prem community and did solicit customer and community feedback.  In fact many of the cloud services can be seamlessly integrated with an on premises installation of SharePoint.

    ​2.     Power BI (or power to the people)

    Power BI is a suite of business intelligence tools available only in Office 365.  These tools really lower the bar in making BI reports and graphs available to decision makers.  The suite of tools includes:

    • Power Query – query relational tables, office documents, or even web pages
    • Power Map – make your data geospatial and explore and navigate via a 3d map
    • Power Pivot – create in-memory multidimensional data without requiring SQL Server Analysis Services
    • Power View – provide interactive, animated visualizations (i.e. graphs on steroids)

    Why is it important?  Because Microsoft bills this suite as self-service.  No huge, years-long, enterprise data warehouse project to produce cubed, financial data reports needed last week. 

    Is it truly self-service?  Well, sort of.  You still need a strong data analyst to manage foreign key relationships and understand dimensional data.  However, once the data query has done its work producing graphs are straight forward.  The best part is that the queries are saved and can be re-used.

    Did I mention that all the queries, reports, and graphs are displayed and managed through SharePoint?


    Power Map


    Power Query

    3. Social and Extended Groups

    Microsoft finally clarified the social roadmap.  Yammer has won and the social features currently embedded in SharePoint are sunsetting.         

    Yammer has had "groups" capability for a long time.  Essent​ially a user could define\invite people to be part of an ad hoc group.  This group shared comments and files via a group name and could be public or private.

    Microsoft has extended the groups concept across Exchange, SharePoint and Yammer.


    Additionally, as files in the group are accessed, the Yammer discussion appears with the document.


    4. Office 365 Video Portal

    Microsoft has finally addressed the fact that if you throw a video into SharePoint and a bunch of users access it simultaneously – say for training purposes, you run into a bandwidth issue.

    The new Office 365 Video Portal addresses the optimization, compression and rendering required by heavy use.  Additionally, it provides a YouTube-like interface to manage and find videos.

    In order to do accomplish this it leverages Azure video services.


    5. Office Graph and Oslo

    Jeff Teper the Vice President over SharePoint, Exchange, and Office 365 said that his mission is to address "information overload."  To that affect, he has commissioned Office Graph and a new dashboard interface codenamed, Oslo.

    Both tools are being developed by the same Norwegian com​pany that developed the FAST search engine used by SharePoint 2013.

    Jeff defined Office Graph as "the underlying substrate" for Yammer, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Exchange.  Essentially, it will be an index structure that ties a user and their permissions to objects across Microsoft apps while providing an API to extend it.  The idea is that it will use machine learning to determine which information is most relevant to your working habits.

    Oslo is the cross-platform interface that displays and filters the information collected by the Office Graph.  This dashboard displays the most relevant information based on your habits and the habits of people you are connected.


    Interface is developed for PC, tablet and phone


    Submitted by Matt Tinkler, CIO

  • The Technology Roadshow Marches on to East Georgia
    29 January 2014
    12:13 PM

    Category:Portals and Collaboration; Cloud Services; Business Intelligence
    Post By:Chelsea Stephens

    Welcome to 2014!

    It's around this time every year that most people have set some kind of New Year's resolution that will either enhance their physical, mental or emotional self.  Some fall off the wagon right away, some are able to stick to it for a while, and others are able to stay strong and be successful at the end of the year.  Well, here at B2B Tech we made some "New Year's resolutions" of our own and we plan on sticking with them! This year we set some goals that are exciting, motivating and challenging; along with that, they also have the potential to greatly benefit, not only us, but other businesses, customers and partners.  We are in the middle of developing a more specialized and advanced team that includes experts in areas such as: System Center, Lync, SharePoint 2013 and Project Server 2013.  One of our greater goals for the year is to expand our reach throughout the entire state of Georgia.  With this in mind, along with a more advanced team in place, we put together a "Technology Roadshow" that reaches into the north, south and east areas of Georgia.  The purpose of this is two-fold: to reach businesses outside of the Atlanta area and leverage the advanced set of teams we have in place to create and develop the best solutions for everyday challenges.

    B2B Tech started the 2014 Technology Roadshow in two cities in North Georgia – Gainesville and Dalton.  The goal for this event was to engage audiences from different business environments, generate roundtable discussions which allowed us to learn about their IT space while also giving everyone else an opportunity to hear what others are doing and find out what has worked and what hasn't worked.  We were very happy with the success from the first two cities.  Those who attended were very open to discuss their challenges and also willing to offer suggestions and advice in areas where they have been successful. 

    With February quickly approaching, we are getting ready to launch the second round of the Technology Roadshow set to take place in Augusta and Savannah on February 4th and 5th, respectively.  Although this event is designed as a roundtable discussion, some set topics to be discussed are: cloud deployment, corporate social networking, risk management & compliance, and business department portals for areas like HR, Marketing and Legal. Our purpose is to reach those businesses outside of the metro-Atlanta area that do not always get reached because of distance.  We recognize there are a multitude of companies who have business needs and we want to give them the same opportunity others have who are closer to the city. 

    The Technology Roadshow will finish in March in Valdosta, Georgia.  To find out more about the upcoming locations, additional information and registration links, check out our event calendar here

    We hope to see you there!

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